Brian Wilson is one of the most exciting, fun and personable players in the game today. His obsession with an obscure Nicolas Cage movie (8MM) and his ridiculous Frank Zappa-esque manner of speaking paint a unique picture not found often in baseball today.
The San Francisco Giants are a long and storied organization, however, and while there may not have been many players as consistently entertaining as Wilson on a regular basis, there have been some players with terrific personalities.
The following 10 quotes from Giants history will make you realize that the Giants have always been, at the very least, a fun and entertaining team with colorful characters. The list is arranged in no particular order—they are all gems. Special thanks to Alan Kennady for his assistance in developing this article.
One time in the '60s, Jimmy Ray Hart had a multi-hit game. In the postgame interview, Lon Simmons asked, "Well, Jimmy Ray, you looked hungry out there today." Hart replied:
"That's right, Lon, I didn't even have breakfast this morning."
In Terry Mulholland's debut game against the Mets, 8 June 1986, Mulholland fielded the ball while Brenly went to cover first base.
Mulholland was unable to get the ball out of the first baseman's glove, so at the last second he threw the glove, with ball inside, to Brenly. Asked about it after the game, Brenly, a catcher, replied:
"Oh, that's nothing. One time in the minors a throw came in on a runner trying to score on a sacrifice fly, and the ball got stuck in my mask."
After the San Francisco Giants gave up 24 home runs in one seven-game stretch, Dusty Baker replied:
“It's hard to win when you can't keep the ball in the ballpark. I don't think they could hit more home runs if you told them what was coming. I don't think they could hit any more if it was batting practice."
San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, known primarily for his wonderful relations with the media, had this to say after becoming the first player in history to hit 400 home runs and steal 400 bases:
“This is nothing. I've got nine writers standing here. (Mark) McGwire had 200 writers when he had 30 home runs.”
Hall of Fame San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry once said:
“They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.”
On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Gaylord Perry hit his first and only home run.
John “The Count” Montefusco, best known for throwing one of the only no-hitters in San Francisco Giants history, once remarked:
“We drew 438,000 people in Candlestick in 1975 (actually 522,925). The only time people came out was when I would pop off and say something. It was show business.”
The “Baby Bull,” Orlando Cepeda, not only started the San Francisco Giants’ obsession with nicknaming players after young animals, but also propounded an interesting theory on how to get to Hall of Fame Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale:
“The trick against Drysdale is to hit him before he hits you.”
No quote list would be complete without an inclusion from perhaps the greatest San Francisco Giants star, and one of the greatest players in baseball history. Willie Mays perfectly encapsulated the spirit of baseball when he said the following:
“Baseball is a game, yes. It is also a business. But what it most truly is is disguised combat. For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps.”
The one-time San Francisco Giants manager Roger Craig stated in no uncertain terms the definition of a true ace pitcher:
“There are Opening Day pitchers and pitchers who start on Opening Day.”
After giving up three consecutive home runs on three straight pitches—throwing a slider to the first batter, a fastball to the second and a split-finger to the third—San Francisco Giants pitcher Roger Mason comically retorted:
“I'm glad I didn't have a fourth pitch.”
The San Francisco Giants player with the extremely long name, Al Gallagher, knew how to prioritize baseball:
“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.”
Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal was perhaps the greatest in San Francisco Giants history. Even so, this interview demonstrates just how mysterious the circumstances surrounding his greatness are:
Interviewer: Where did you learn to pitch?
Marichal: In the army.
Interviewer: Oh, what rank were you?
Marichal: No rank, just play baseball in army.
Interviewer: You had a good coach then?
Marichal: No coach. I always knew how to pitch.
Interviewer: Then, there must be ballplayers in your family -- your father, perhaps?
Marichal: No father. Two brothers. They can't play.
Interviewer: Then baseball must be a big game in your family.
Marichal: Only me. I teach myself.